In a previous post I shared 13 Steps to Building a Great Team. It focused on leadership strategies for team building. The post didn’t share ideas for improving existing teams. So, how can an existing team improve? If you are part of a team, what can you do to help it become a better? Here are 6 team building tips.
6 Team Building Tips
1. Work hard, both individually, and together
Nothing beats hard work. Don’t get me wrong hard work alone is not the only key to building a successful team. You need action plans, a shared vison, and commitment, but none of that works if you don’t work it. So, how do you instill work ethic? You don’t, but what you can do is reward effort, foster recognition, and share a feeling of accomplishment. Help people want to apply themselves.
2. Define team goals as a group
I’ve said this before but if you create team goals whose goals are they? Exactly. However, if you bring the team together, solicit ideas, and ask for advice when creating team goals, then the goals become team goals. Also, number one is difficult without clear goals combined with a plan of action. Goals without a plan to reach them are little more than wishes.
3. Help each other avoid dissension
My favorite tool for conflict resolution is the Pinch Theory. “The bases of the pinch theory of conflict management is that conflict can be predicted and reduced. Unresolved conflict affects production, lowers performance, and fosters resentment. When expectations between people are not met, this creates a pinch or a breakdown in the existing relationship. Pinches are inevitable, but can be reduced, managed, and avoided. Unresolved pinches, which fester, often leading to a CRUNCH – defined as an intolerable pinch(es).” — How to Use the Pinch Theory Of Conflict Management.
4. Be the best teammate you can be
Here’s the thing. You don’t have to be best friends to be the best teammate. A good teammate doesn’t gossip, isn’t passive aggressive, and isn’t all about me 24/7. A great teammate listens, shares, and helps. I know it sounds too simple. It is simple, but how many co-workers could you define as great by these three criteria? If you want to help your team teach them to listen, share, and help. Make it part of the work culture.
5. Practice active listening, without bias, and be attentive
Speaking of listening. Listening has never been easy or simple, but today, it may be more difficult than ever. Developing active listening skills takes hard work, practice, and patience. Here are 6 points to improve listening that you can share with your team, How to Actively Listen in a Loud World
6. Be time-sensitive, punctual, and remember the value of others’ time
Teach your team the value of punctuality. Being late, without a valid excuse is disrespectful. I once had an employee who was chronically late to meetings. He’d say, “It’s okay just start without me.” I took him aside and asked if thought the meetings were unproductive, we’ve all been in those. He said no, he just got busy and sometimes had something more urgent to do.
I did the math for him it wasn’t only him. If he was 10 minutes late and we waited to begin or caught him up when he showed up, we didn’t lose 10 minutes we lost 10 minutes times the number of people in the meeting. He hadn’t considered this. I asked, if on my way to meetings, if could stop by his desk and ask him to join me. I added that if he was too busy to let me know and I’d catch him up later. He thought it was a good idea.
There’s more I could share such as teaching your team:
- To be open and supportive not jealous or defensive
- Show sensitivity, understanding, and empathy
- Share excitement and give praise
- To be responsible and take responsibility
What Lessons Have You Learned?
Most people have been involved in successful as well as dysfunctional teams. It may have been in the workplace or on the sporting field, regardless, a great team is a great team, and something we all can learn from. A great team is more than a group of people getting the job done, it’s folks banding together in support of each other. It’s strangers bonding and becoming friends. Likewise, a dysfunctional team has many cautionary tales to tell. Great, and not so great teams can teach us all how to build better teams, and that’s the best tip I have to share.
How Can I Help You?
Does your business have a management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.
I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me.